FlamesNation Mailbag: Talking about the playoff push and a possible big off-season

Photo credit:Mike Gould
Ryan Pike
1 year ago
The Calgary Flames have a dozen games left in their regular season. Will they have games after that this season? That’s unclear right now. Life around the Flames right now is a swirling mass of uncertainty and possibility.
Amidst that swirling mass, let’s dive into the mailbag!
I wouldn’t say that Darryl Sutter relies on his veterans out of fear. But when you think you have a chance to win, you lean on your veterans because they’re predictable and reliable. And when the margin for error between making or not making the playoffs is razor thin, again, you probably double down on reliable, predictable veteran players because you know what to expect from them. Young players are fun and new and often rapidly improving, and they can be awesome. But they, by definition, have less experience and are more prone to mistakes as a result.
And when you’re the NHL’s league-leader in one-goal games (and losing them), you’re probably a little hesitant to roll the dice on relative newcomers over your tried and true veterans, even if the veterans are on the back-nine of their careers.
I’m not sure if the NHL is hesitant to publicize it, but they might have some contractual strings that bind them. A lot of the data might be proprietary in some cases to the companies that help them collect the data. It does seem inevitable, though, that as the pool of collected data expands that the amount that becomes available for public analysis expands as well.
But I agree, the Big City Greens game was fantastic, and it would be awesome if the NHL keeps trying new, wacky things to try to draw in new fans.
I’m a big Jack Beck guy. He’s part of a long line of well-rounded, smallish young forwards in their system. OHL scouts I know rave about his two-way game, and he’s been really effective offensively for the Ottawa 67’s, too.
I think no matter what happens, the key for the Flames going forward is figuring out what pieces they think they can build around and which pieces they think they can leverage. I’m not thinking about anything like a tear-down, but if they need to punt a little bit of money out the door to gain some cap flexibility, are there any hockey trades available that would help the Flames change up the mix a little bit, get a bit of youth injected into the roster, and give them some salary cap breathing room.
They probably want to have the ability to have full-time spots for Jakob Pelletier, Matt Coronato and Walker Duehr. Being able to ease the likes of Connor Zary and Dustin Wolf into NHL roles rather than throwing them into the deep end would be preferable, if they can swing it.
As we discussed on Sunday, the big challenge will be trying to determine why the Flames underachieved, rather than overreacting and shipping everybody out of town.
If we’re being honest here, some of the most fun things about covering sports (or being a fan) is the utter, utter chaos of the end of the season. There’s no guarantee that the Flames make the playoffs, but it’s also not a foregone conclusion that they’ll miss either. The next few weeks are going to be a swirling vortex of uncertainty.
It could end in pain or pure fan joy, but if nothing else the final dozen games won’t be boring.

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